Visual Impairment Scotland Report
Chapter 8 Educational Information: Service Provision
Number of children receiving visits and age at first visit
- Presence of visual impairment unit or resource base
- Computer use
- Orientation and mobility training
- Psychological services
Less than half the children in mainstream education (49% in primary and 36% in secondary) receive any visit from a VI specialist teacher.
Two thirds of children (67%) received their first visit from a VI specialist teacher before the age of 5 years.
Less than one third (32%) of children with visual impairment attending mainstream education have access to either a visual impairment resource base of unit within their school.
The majority of children (81%) in mainstream schools are regularly using computers.
Most children (89%) in secondary special education are regularly using computers however under half (48%) of the children in special primary schools are using them.
Only around one half of children with no additional disabilities in either primary (44%) or secondary (53%) mainstream education have been taught how to touch type.
8.1 Number of children receiving visits and age at first visit
Nearly all children in special schools (96% in primary and 100% in secondary) receive a visit from a VI teacher. Most (88%) pre-school children also receive visits. (This figure should however be interpreted with caution as there was only educational information available on 57% of children of pre-school age. If a teacher is not involved with a pre-school child then VIS is unlikely to receive a completed education form and so this percentage of 88% of pre-school children receiving a visit from a teacher is likely to be an over-estimate of the real figure.) Less than half the children (49% in primary and 36% in secondary) in mainstream education receive a visit from a VI teacher.
Over two thirds of children (67%) received their first visit from a VI teacher before the age of 5 years.
Less than one third of children with visual impairment attending mainstream education have access to either a visual impairment resource base or unit within their school.
Use in school
The important role that computers can play in the education of children with visual impairment is widely recognised. Although only a few (18%) pre-school children were using computers the majority of children in mainstream were regularly using computers (81%). Most children in secondary special education were also using computers (89%) however under half the children in special primary schools were using them.
Many children are using computers in school. However if they develop a problem, support from an appropriately trained technician may not always be available. Consequently computers can lie idle for extended periods of time. Of the 141 children using computers in only 78 (55%) cases did the child’s teacher feel there was a satisfactory arrangement for ensuring maintenance of it. In almost half (43%) of all cases it was left to the classroom teacher to sort out any problems with computers.
Computer use at home
Only 19 out of the 224 children (8.5%) had been supplied with a computer for home use. It is recognised however that over half the children do have access to a computer at home, acquired through other means.
Only about half of children with no additional disabilities in either primary (44%) or secondary (53%) mainstream education had been taught how to touch type.
The orientation and mobility needs of less than half (42%) of the children had been assessed. Pre-school children were the least likely to have been assessed. Of children of school age this figure ranged from one third (33%) in special secondary schools to just over one half (56%) in special primary schools.
The provision of this service showed a clear relationship with visual function (Table 8.7). Of the 108 children with no additional disabilities just under half (48%) had their orientation and mobility needs assessed. Within this subgroup more children with poorer visual function (Groups C & D) had had their needs assessed compared with those with better visual function (Groups A & B).
Just over half (113/224) of the children were receiving input to their educational programme from an educational psychologist. Children in special schools were most likely to be receiving input (72% primary & secondary combined) with mainstream secondary school age children the least likely (36%).